Hello! Happy spring.
One of my biggest reasons for building the Signals site and newsletter was to make bigger, complex, layered puzzles, just for you all. The first of these Mysteries dropped yesterday. Here's the link:
Thank you to the 96 (!) Signals Members, whose membership makes it possible for me to spend time building out puzzles like this. These Mysteries will remain accessible to all Signals readers, but only Members will have access to the hints, solution, submission form, and leaderboard. To gain access, please consider becoming a Member:
Work at The Mystery League
The Mystery League is hiring a part-time assistant. Please visit the job post and pass it on to anyone who you think might be interested. This is an entry-level position, ideally for someone who lives in Chicago.
Every month I offer a new, bite-size puzzle, called The Puzzler. Here is the one for April:
Take the name of a small creature. Write it out twice, with 8 spaces in between. Then anagram the plural form of another small creature, along with another letter, and put it in those 8 spaces. The result will be a 14-letter word for a kind of pharmaceutical. What is it?Submit your answer here 🗳
Heavy Meta, a puzzle pack by Patrick Berry
Any new Patrick Berry puzzle set is an insta-recommend from me. Berry is the author of hundreds (thousands?) of beautiful, tight crossword puzzles. He also writes the snack-sized variety grid puzzles at the top of the puzzle page of the New York Times Magazine. This new pack by him is $15 and includes “9 meta-crosswords, including a meta-meta puzzle that ties everything together.”Escape game in Gather
Escape game in Gather
I got to beta test this game, and it's pretty fun! Gather is a video conferencing platforms where participants take on an avatar in a shared virtual space, and Raid The Room, an escape room company, built an escape-type game using the platform. The puzzles range from simple to complex, and the pixel art graphics are lovely, but what's really clever about the game is how it requires players to spread out across the virtual space and work together.
Me: (masochistically plays Semantle) “There has to be a better idea for a semantic Wordle.”
Josh Turner: invents Redactle
Me: never plays Semantle again
Redactle shows you a full Wikipedia page, with every word redacted except for articles, conjunctions and prepositions. You guess a word, and if it's on the page, Redactle reveals all mentions of it. You win if you can guess the title of the page. Sometimes it takes me 250+ guesses sometimes it takes me fewer than 10. Today's is a really good intro level (but do it soon; it switches to a new entry at noon ET).
The Gamification of Discourse
I enjoyed this conversation (transcript) between Ezra Klein and C. Thi Nguyn, and not only because he evangelizes about one of my favorite video games, Baba Is You. He explains how systems like Twitter incentivize us to post things that will get us the most engagement, which — duh — may not have the best results for public discourse. Also, by focusing on the outcome, we lose sight of the joy in the process.
Mystery League on Offsyte
After two years of running online team-building games purely on word-of-mouth, I'm finally getting The Mystery League set up on a few marketplaces. Here's the link to my listing on Offsyte, if you have a boss (or are a boss) who uses these kinds of sites to find vendors: